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PPA warns of wave of English-language scam calls made to Estonian residents

Smart phone (photo is illustrative).
Smart phone (photo is illustrative). Source: Unsplash

The Police and Border Guard (PPA) has reported mass automated scam calls being made, in English, to residents of Estonia. The calls purport to be from the PPA itself, while the scammer requests ID pin codes and other sensitive data.

"These criminals have become very active, and up to today over a hundred people in Estonia have received such automated calls," the PPA warned on its website.

Vyačeslav Milenin, head of the PPA Northern Prefecture's serious crimes department, said that scammers aim to fish for people's money or their personal data. "If you receive a call from an unknown number claiming that your data has been stolen, hang up immediately," Milenin added, thanking all those members of the public who immediately recognized the fraudulent calls for what they were, and reported them to the PPA.

In recent months, there has also been a surge in posts on various social media groups aimed at foreign nationals residing in Estonia, reporting scam calls and calls from unknown numbers.

The unknown numbers nonetheless appear to be made in Estonia and have an Estonian dialing code often.

In a typical case, upon answering an unknown number, the recipient of the call will be transferred to an operator speaking in Russian. Declining to take a call from an unknown number may also lead to a tell-tale immediate call back from another unknown number or numbers, suggesting an automated system is in use.

Some of these automated calls have included operators impersonating PPA officers.

The recent spate of calls the PPA has reported are made in English, and also pretend to be made from the PPA; and inform the recipient that their ID card has been stolen. As if this were not enough, the "officer" then goes on to tell the call recipient that they are now on an "international wanted list."

In the course of the call, the would-be victim is asked to dial "1" on their phone's keypad, to put them through to a "police officer."

Milenin reminded the public never to share their ID card PIN1 and PIN2 numbers, their Mobile-ID or their Smart-ID identification, nor any other sensitive data.

The PPA reiterates that it never makes calls requesting such data.

The PPA says that to its knowledge, fortunately no one has fallen victim to the scam so far.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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